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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 10, 2014 11:00am-1:01pm EDT

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against the kind of abuses that led to the card act. we're also trying to collect information so that we can accomplish our task that the congress set for us, reporting to you every year and how it's affecting the marketplace. ....
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recent development, which we learned about in april, which is withthe cfppb is joining fhaa for the national mortgage database and what we april, then, just last is that these 2 agencies are going to jointly work to expand the national mortgage database, and the information that came out in the federal register with regard to this proposed expansion is extremely alarming. i am reading from the federal register right now, the new expanded system may include without limitation borrower and co-borrower information, name and address and zip code, ethnicity, gender language -- gender, language, education financial information and account information, including the life events of the
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last few years, and the list goes on and on. the question that have is, does this mean that the assurances that you have given us recently, and as we have discussed the big not projects, that you will collect personally identifiable information on americans, is being changed? is the agencies attempt changing in regards to collection of data? >> i believe what you are a swornfrom is particular statement done for bureaucratic reasons under the for what could be the case. the national mortgage database will not include personally identifiable information such as name, address and social security number and i also want to make a point to assure you, and your colleagues because the question was raised, there are no plans and we will not be including religion in the national mortgage database.
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so, what i do want to say is the need for this information is acute. , when hebernanke testified here, said one problem with the crisis -- the mortgage crisis was they did not know what was happening in the mortgage market and they have reiterated this sense, we have to know more about the mortgage market to prevent this economy from cratering again the same way it did before. is a similar rationale to your need for information about credit card transactions. but again, i have a concern that the government collecting this phenomenal amount of data about private citizens could be used in an invasive way. and frankly, my time is running out, but i hope that we will have another opportunity for additional rounds. i want to get into the question about whether we can reverse engineer this information, or if
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other uses could occur. >> i realize this operates in five minute segments and we are quite happy to have our staff continue, to talk back and forth about your concerns about this. i share those concerns and the having a study on the report that you asked for and it will get into all of these concerns that you had back and forth with him at considerable length. they have a very responsible but --petence of inquiry and comprehensive inquiry, making sure that things are not happening that we don't comprehend and at the same time recognize the issues of security and privacy that you are raising, i want to be sensitive to those for this agency as well. and our staffself on these issues. menendez?
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>> director, in your midyear update on student loan amplaints you highlight factor where loans are put into default if the cosigner dies or becomes disabled or declares bankruptcy, even if the borrower has never missed a payment. that practice, to me is extremely unfair to the borrowers who have been making their payments on time and are in good standing. i am in the midst of drafting legislation to fix that problem. my question is what are some steps that can be taken under existing law to protect students from this practice, students who may be able to qualify for the existing loan on their own or under a new cosigner, and does the bureau have the opportunity to remedy this practice with you additionalou need authority? >> thank you for raising that issue. it was shocking to me and i want
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to describe this practice of people understand. there was tremendous work done -- this has been an expanding advocate for students who have student loan debt across the country. the practice was that nowadays, the vast majority, 90% plus of student loans that people take out have a cosigner on them, and often a parent or maybe a grandparent. and a student who attends school for multiple years or graduates and begins to repay student loans may well have a spotless payment history, and yet suddenly something happens to the cosigner. at this point the parent or grandparent is aging, and eventually some of them pass away. at the time where the young person is affected by the death of their parent or grandparent, we saw student loan servicers calling in the account because the cosigner is no longer
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available, rather than considering the situation and working with the borrower, working out a payment plan or recognizing that they made the spotless payment on time, that is the way they heaped trouble on these poor affected people, and it was not right. i think that the issuance of the report itself has sent people scuttling throughout the industry to avoid a repeat of this. we heard from one of the major servicers the other day. >> i hate to interrupt you because my time is limited. but in the face of the report and public shame, is there any regulatory ability to do something about this or do you need additional authority? >> i would like for the focus to be to talk more with your staff, but i do think the shaming here is a great example. i i am all for shaming, but would like a guarantee. many of them have trouble releasing cosigners, although this was an option available to
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the bar upon signing up. what is the feasibility for an automatic cosigner when the lenders conditions are met? >> i think this is possible but i am not clear in my mind if we need legislation on that or not. when things are written in legislation they are more secure and lasting, but we would be happy to work with you on that. >> can you make that part of the agenda we will follow up on? 97%, it used to be 67% were cosigned by 2008 and then that number jumped to 90%. this whole issue of a cosigner, and a young person passing away or having a disability and then having their parents facing this even ife whole issue of there is forgiveness at the end of the day, getting a big tax
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liability, these are issues we would like to work with you on. because i have serious concerns about where we are at on those issues. >> i strongly agree with the issues you have raised in the concern you are sharing about them. when something gets worked out, after four or five or six years of hassle and frustration and struggle, this is not a good situation for people. >> you would think that death in and of itself would have some finality. on the prepaid cards, the last time you were here in november we discussed the upcoming rulemaking on prepaid cards, something i follow for some time. you can have products that are largely remaining unregulated, and consumers can fall victim to all sorts of abusive fees, being charged to customer service to check your balance, or sometimes you want to cancel your card because the fee is too high, and you get more to close the
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account and we have legislation dealing with that. can you give us an update on work?ureaus >> i cannot and we have discussed this a fair amount. this is a market where people don't realize that they are subject to no consumer protections currently, and there are billions of dollars being loaded onto this card and that is a growing market. we anticipated we would have a rulemaking proposal out in june, which is this month and it will be the end of the summer before but this doesn, not indicate any particular problems about the rulemaking, it is just hard to work through these issues. we are getting there and we will have something very soon. >> thank you, chairman. >> mr. director, as you know i am one of those senators who has taken the position and argued for some time, that there should
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be greater oversight over your budget process. in fact, there is not much limitation under the law and you can request up to 12% of the federal reserve's operating and the expenses must be reasonably necessary to carry we your functions, -- so don't get a lot of oversight here, as you know. and i think that is very problematic. i want to focus on just a small piece of what you have been doing. with your spending. this relates to the building that you are in, the building is not even owned by your agency. at 55,ion costs started the washington examiner thinks this is up to 95 now. you are owned -- i think your own acknowledgment is that this is probably $145 million.
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documents, from merrill, owens and they are the architects of this building and here are some of the things you are working on. i am quoting from the document. at the western terminus of the fountain -- a raise water table spills over and down into a sunken garden below. creates anascade atmosphere of white noise as visitors. over the glass railing into the sunken garden pool, and the plantings below. at the western side of the plaza a cop -- colmer and more informal seating area under shady trees and the soft contrast of the stone floor a removed space
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of rest and contemplation. additional seating is provided along the building edge at a lightly elevated temperature paved porch, covered by dark bronze colored trellis, with a light bronze color adorned with fines. the southern side of the raise water table over a water wall of naturally split granite. edge, a newhern water source creates a cascade of water that flows down into the sunken garden. pool,ating in a raised slabs of granite rest in the bottom of the pool. and then it talks about a four-story interior glass staircase, a stainless stare placed in the vertical light wells, connecting level 2 through 6 to allow increased
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circulation while allowing daylight into the interior. embarrassing, as i read through this stuff, and that is about the oversight that we have with you. issues, dose these you think that kind of spending necessary,easonably to carry out your functions on a building that is a leased building? would you make the case to us that this is reasonably necessary? >> if i may, several things in your discussion i would like to attract. first of all, this has been out there on the public record for some time, this is a fiction of the washington examiner, that this project started out at 55 million and has gone to hire proportions. there was never any expectation
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that this could be completed for $55 million. what happened was in the first budget that we put anything in as a partial payment on the ultimate project, 55 million was listed in that year's budget but was never considered to be -- the notion this has tripled in cost is a fiction by the washington examiner. that is all that this is. there was a review for this before this was created, in which they anticipated that even at that point in time, the baseline needs of the building, such as a local problems and other things would require at least triple figures worth of construction work, and that didn't include a lot of the contingencies that go along with a project like this. embarrassing, this is the kind of flowery statement that someone will make when they are trolling for a bid, trying
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to get the business and trying to make it sound is wonderful as they can. much of the flowery words do not reflect the cost, and you can say this about many of the staircases and outer areas around the capital here, there is nothing special about this from the perspective of other government buildings and this is not a very special government building, this is a building that needs a great deal of work. i wish that it did not. so thet own the building notion that we are trying to create some palace that we do not own does not make any sense to me. >> i don't want to impose upon the chairman's patients here. would you be willing to give us a thorough accounting of what is being spent and on what, on this building? >> absolutely. senator? >> welcome back, director.
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amused, amused is not the right word but when i hear a number of colleagues, especially in the house, question the accountability of that you havenow appeared in front of the house and the senate close to 50 times now, and thank you for being as accountable as you have. the report states that the cfp be will take steps towards providing new protections for consumers in the small dollar credit markets. i appreciate the beer is continued interest in providing oversight for this high-cost market, but i am concerned that tailoring regulations of traditional -- the traditional payday loan market may leave some consumers vulnerable to hire problems -- as we saw the experience attempting the legislature to prohibit high-cost and small dollar
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loans, targeting traditional payday loans, allows lenders to use other products to attract consumers to the debt -- and the ohio lenders organized under the thrift lending law moved into this as you know. have they considered new oversight -- as they consider new oversight for the loan market, how do you think new rules will protect the consumers through a wide range of products, with one line payday loans and auto loans and other payment loans? >> the issue is extremely important to the bureau addressing this market because as you say, i have seen the experience in ohio where rules that were meant to address concerns about payday lending were circumvented, through migrations in the market, and this is happening across the country in a number of states. we have also seen this because
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the military lending act gave rise to similar problems. rules that wasf adopted in the military lending act about seven or eight years and allowedow, those rules to be circumvented, by high-cost lenders who continue to operate right outside of military bases or online with lots of patriotic-looking flags and they are peddling terrible products to our servicemembers. we have been working with the department of defense for the rules,ar to revise those this is the same kind of problem we will be dealing with in the small lending market. this has taken a somewhat longer to adjust this but i think it is well worth the additional time in order to make sure that what we do will not be made a mockery of by people circumventing this through transforming their products slightly. >> thank you. i want to expand a little bit on senator menendez's questions
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student loan servicing. i chaired a subcommittee hearing about this issue and i'm concerned that the problems we saw in mortgage servicing are being repeated in student loan servicing. transfers, the nondisclosure of those violations of service members writes, in adequate and inconsistent modifications and refinancing options, three or four witnesses agreed that we need comprehensive and consistent standards for servicers of federal and private student loans. withyou move forward comprehensive student loan standards and how can we better align service incentives with borrowers needs as we move forward on this? >> i would agree that we see a lot of the same problems that are just absolutely bedeviling -- that absolutely bedeviled mortgage services and continue to do so, arising with student
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loan servicing as well. there are many characteristics of the product but poor customer service problems and problems with transfers, lack of information and harm to consumers because there is an eerie consistency there. what we have done in the past, we finalized the rule that was necessary for us to begin supervising student loan and going on the spot out to see what they're are doing to comply with the law. that insight is helping us identify the default problem that was not well known before we called attention to it. whether this will lead to specific standards, with the department of education on these issues, i don't know yet but we have the ability to go in and actually correct problems on the spot, which we did not have before and it is going to make a significant difference in this market thomas i believe, and
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were we will all lead -- will keep you posted as we go. >> senator? >> welcome. i have been watching on television and i wanted to follow-up a little bit with the senatorquestioning that -- has. when you were here last time i asked you about the building and i believe that the quote was that the estimated cost to renovate was 95 million dollars at that time, that is your testimony back then. and now, the estimated total -- howr the renovation many square feet? >> i can't give you an exact number for the square footage but i know that the building is problematic. we are having to move out of it. >> i understand that, but you don't know how many square feet?
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you don't know if 145 million is a good number for the american taxpayer. renovation costs? >> i know that we have been through these numbers and it is i believe an appropriate value, this is taken into account in the lease that we negotiated so that our lease payments were less over 30 years to take not the landlord would be making improvements on the building. bes is a building that would a white elephant if this work is not done. this is a government asset owned by the treasury and the occ. his is also a building that will be populated more densely than before. >> this is a great cell job, administrator, but the point is that we are $17 trillion in debt and when you hear, regardless of what the flowery nature is that he has read to you, this will be optimum and. >> this will not be up lament --
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opulent. >> if you have any of those waterfalls, that is what we can't afford right now in this country. we are running a 600 billion dollar deficit, and what you're trying to help people with in terms of the consumer being treated fairly, we will take back from them in terms of excess costs because we don't run things on a tight ship. you, thebeing to structural renovation is 139 million, the temporary lease is 22 million, securities and utilities -- this is 13.6 million, the cost of architectural and engineering million,ntracts, 9.2 and this does not include the shuttle service that will run back and forth. this is a lot of cost into and i'm not saying that what you did was wrong, i am saying that we are buying top dollar design and construction, at a time when
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we don't have the money to pay for it. you have an unlimited budget, mades senator johansson the point, we don't get any oversight. the fact is, who with you has the experience outside of washington of doing a rehab on a building? who has private world experience in rehabbing buildings? >> i would like to ask you and your staff to come take a tour of the building. saying -- >> it is not opulent and will not be opulent when it is finished. >> i don't say that this does not need to be done. done, but cann be this be done for less and is done under the realization that this country is in trouble, financially. are we spending money we cannot spend or are we spending money -- >> this is meaningful oversight that you have with me and we
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have the appropriations subcommittee on these types of issues both in the house and senate and this is something that i agree to when i was confirmed by the senate. we also do not have an unlimited budget. we have a budget cap each year. we have no capital budget. every dollar we spend on something like this is taken from other work that we are doing, i am feeling that and i want to spend as little as possible. i will be happy to continue to closely and your staff advised. >> i have a few seconds left. who is the expert on your side that has the knowledge to make the decisions about a construction project like this, what is their experience outside of doing this for the government? people in the agency working on this in charge of the facilities, we also brought in gsa. they are the expert on the -- from the federal government on these projects.
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>> but you don't have anyone on staff with outside knowledge or outside experience to raise a $180 million construction project. >> i don't know if i would agree with that but that is part of the reason we brought them in. >> can you answer for the record who on your staff and what the experience is about this project? >> i will be happy to have you or your staff meet with our facilities groups, and also the folks from gsa who are working with us about this. i brought the men because i share your concerns about this and every dollar spent on this is a dollar -- >> i am not satisfied with the work that gsa does on this. we are getting ready to put muskogeea facility in for the ba that we could have is less -- and the gsa negotiating a four percent rider on the lease, within $8 million
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construction budget for a facility that will be three times the size of this -- with a five percent increase in veterans over the next 20 years in tulsa. gsa is not really great at this either. >> i don't really know about that. >> but you are relying on the expert. >> if you have other suggestions i am all ears. >> the deal is done, isn't it? >> if you have further suggestions -- >> my suggestion is go to the outside of washington, in the middle of the country, and find people like manhattan construction the notes at the do this for less money, that will design and build this in an office that is adequate and build well, and do this in a way that says that we don't have a next or penny to spend, so how can we get what we need for the least amount of money. gsa,does not happen at the that is not happen in most
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government agencies. you ought to set the example given the position that you are in. >> i am happy to talk with you further about that and i know that this is a concern for you. senator? >> thank you very much, mr. chair, and thank you for your testimony. i will start and ask you to say little bit more about the restitution of the castle issue -- i believe that this is where steering payments occurred, to were steering customers into high interest loans, and then getting bonuses for it. these payments were banned under dodd frank and now under your supervision you have taken action against their appearance. can you summarize with this accident -- action ended up? >> sure, and it is quite frankly the same as you described it. that was goingng
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on that we believe is in violation of the law and we were surprised the company did not recognize what they were doing was in violation of the law. there are many areas were you say that this is debatable, but this was absolutely clear-cut. it took a while for that to sink in, and the matter was revolved -- was resolved with sniffing in payment and penalty and it is indicative of the need to oversee the actual enforcement of the rules and laws, and not just to assume that when they are on the books, everyone understands them, and abides by them, particularly if there are financial incentives not to do so. it is a great example of why you need an agency just a bulldog -- to bulldog the rules, and make sure that they are a court -- happening in the marketplace is that they should. >> $9 million on a return of 9000 to mortgage holders, do they also get a permanent discount on their interest rates
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for the high interest loans? >> i don't recall. i would be happy to fill you in on that, there was relief going forward to make sure that the deep -- that what we saw happening would not happen again. i think this signals the market as a public enforcement action does, that if either people are engaging in this and somehow thinking this is appropriate or that people won't pay attention, we will. i think it is quite important. >> you anticipated my next question, this kind of steering in which the mortgage originator poses as a financial counselor and steers people into high interest loans is just a huge predatory practice, i am delighted that you are patrolling against his predatory practice and i hope and anticipate that there is a substantial deterrent effect for what you have done. >> what is surprising to me is
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there is so much visibility on this issue, and it was so remarked upon, and explicitly dealt with by the congress, and by us, in the wake of the mortgage market meltdown, that i was just surprised to see a company engaged in these practices and even upon engaging with them, did not seem to be aware that these practices were legal. eventually this got through. >> millions of american homeowners and mortgage holders will benefit from that action. so thank you. i want to turn to the issue of medical debt. thank you for this report that you have put out, medical debt and credit scores. beenis something i have very concerned about, because essentially, when you get a bill you geth care activity, these papers that say that this is not a bill, and then you get something from the laboratory and the x-ray physician, and meanwhile your insurance sends
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you something, this is what we think that you will pay that we are not sure. and it creates this whole confusing matrix that often takes quite a while to sort out, with the insurance company. in the course of that, medical debt is reported to a credit agency, putting a permanent scar on your credit record that has nothing to do with this -- because this kind of debt takes a while to figure out. i felt when those medical debts are paid off, they should be clear from the credit record because of the logic behind the fact that they probably bear little resemblance to the role of other debts in anticipating whether or not you will make payments and you reported the case by about a 20 point margin, and this is the first solid evidence i have seen that this is a miscalculation of the ability to pay. do you want to comment on this at all? >> i would like to reinforce what you said.
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medical debt is something that we can all appreciate. we have all been to the doctor's office. we have not been built or we have been billed and we are not sure if the insurance company is paying for. it is very confusing for people and is often small amounts but this is often reported on people's credit reports, and it may keep them from getting a mortgage or a car loan, something significant. this was 20 or 50 bucks and i thought it was paid by the insurance company. this is a great example, the first time we have had enough data and information to really dig into this and report to the credit companies that they are not scoring medical debt in the credit scoring companies. appropriately compared to other debt. if we did not have that information we could not do that not show thatould and i think we are beginning to see the credit score companies are responding to this and understanding that they have to up their game and think
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differently about medical debt for all the reasons i laid out so -- you laid out so well. >> my time is closing so i will say i appreciate the letter that i have received in regard to payday loan practices and the intement that if they engage abusive acts they will hold these institutions accountable, no matter how their products are structured. this is certainly a big concern to states like oregon, to have tried to comprehensively protect against predatory triple digit 500% interest in payday loans, and lenders using online practices, and remotely they are checks, basically polling and violating the law. in a straightforward way but able to get away with that because of the distance and they are able to pull money out of checking accounts. a lot has to be done on this and thank you for taking a look at this and we will continue to
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work with you on this. >> senator? i share common experience, and that is running our own local consumer protection bureau, when we were both attorneys general. and when i look at this, i kind of look at the broad scope of possibilities for protection of consumers, not just laying it at your shoulders. one concern i have is the need to do court nation, with what is happening on the state level, understand what is happening on a state level or a local level, and then probably understanding what is happening with all of agencies,r or brother that also have overlapping jurisdictions. one frustration that i hear, here it comes again, yet another agency to be talking to without askcoordination and so i that as you look at each one of these issues, that you look at
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coordinating with the state and understanding better what state agencies are doing, a good withle was already today, prepaid cards you said there is no regulation. there is in the state of north dakota. i made sure that there was regulation. you can say with certainty that there is none when i know that there aren't number of activities going on in states and it is important for us to understand them. i would also say that we have dakota to your consumer complaint website, and have gotten really very favorable reviews back. yet another avenue for people to raise concerns. with that said i would also say that one issue i worked on when i was attorney general, was the issue of bank privacy. crapo's concern about the amount of data being collected.
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i understand the need to have enough to do the analysis, but we need to be very mindful, of the sensitivity of consumers today, about their information. there is a growing insecurity and if they look at federal government -- we had not exactly given them reason to believe that we will be confidential with it, or that we will be straightforward. i look forward to the report, i other enhanced discussions and i want to mention something on payday lending. i was probably one of the first foolish people to way into that area, back in the day and i will tell you a quick little story. the payday lending that was going on, was just as egregious as it is today, it has just taken different forms. but why i was unsuccessful in getting appropriate regulations is that 900 consumers signed a
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petition telling me to mind my own business. and so we need to be aware that in that lane, there is a desperate need, that is not being fulfilled for short-term credit, whether this is to buy cars or diapers or whatever that this is. we need to be mindful of that as we look at this that we don't close off the avenue for that kind of credit. i listened to those 900 consumers and i think that this was done incorrectly and i have a lot of concern about what is happening with payday lending, until we have a country that has justice, weconomic are going to need to give people access to that kind of credit. i just wanted to talk a little bit about student loans, and ask you your opinion. the administration says that they will be cap repayment at 10%. all that this is going to do for a lot of consumers in my state,
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student borrowers in my state is expand the time. that they are going to have. so they will never be out of consumer debt. senator warren and i have a deal to restructure consumer debt. how do you see the restructuring of consumer debt benefiting long-term the credit worthiness of americans who currently have that level of debt? this is obviously a complicated subject that depends on individual circumstances and borrowers, but what upset someone's credit most of all is ending up in default. and if the payment levels are unrealistic, particularly a lot of young people coming out of school today are not fighting the jobs that they hoped to find particularly in the wake of this financial crisis. and so the income-based toayment was an attempt maintain some sort of balance, whether this is the exact right balance of what it should be, is
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hard to say and i am not an expert on it. >> if we did an analysis of student debt, and we started restructuring at the way that we set up the ability to restructure this, how -- could we be at the 10% and shorten the period of repayment? >> it depends on the range and i know that this is something your authority is trying to address. it is not the same but there are a lot of parallels. this is sensible loan sometimes you have loan modifications that end up with higher payments, this is not a formula for success but this has been the winning and the most optimal way of addressing some of the mortgage problems that people are still digging out from. and it could have student loans as the same type of approach that could be beneficial to
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people. >> one quick comment, we have a state owned bank in north dakota. >> you are the only one. >> we have recently announced the program for restructuring student debt. in one month there have been over 1000 applications. it tells you the absolute essential need for assisting people in restructuring this. thank you. >> senator warren? >> thank you, and thank you secretary cordray for being with us again. i covered arbitration clauses near the end of the term and students came in thinking arbitration sounded so friendly and inexpensive. but after studying the law they discovered that arbitration stacks the deck against customers in favor of large corporations. they often have a financial interest in remaining in the good graces of the corporation that places lots of business with them, corporations usually
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hold all of the key evidence in the dispute, but are under no obligation to turn it over, and the arbitrator's ruling cannot be overturned even if it contains legal mistakes or factual errors. the bottom line is that when a customer thinks he has been with the billated is wrong or an arbitration clause in his contract makes it impossible for him to get any real help, it is no surprise that many big banks and other big corporations help customers to agree to -- force customers to agree to arbitration clauses knowing that this means the customer is going to have no real remedy if things go wrong. knowrector cordrey, as you . frank requires the study to have a -- to authorize the bureau to prohibit or limit the use of such clauses based on this study.
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the bureau released a preliminary report last damning. and they were they are everywhere, particularly with the largest banks and they dramatically limit the legal options available to consumers. i know that there are additional issues the bureau wants to examine in the final study. when do you think the bureau will have that study? >> this is an interesting area, where, if you look at what the industry says, and then you look at what consumer groups say, sometimes there is some relation between the two, but here there is almost none. as i understand, congress waited iswaded into this area that -- in a way that is more interventionist than congress areas, wherether the arbitration act has been
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viewed by the courts as being a favorable policy in view of arbitration. this has beennk barred by mortgage contracts by the congress and in terms of the whatmer finance -- congress has said, there he specifically and carefully to us , is that there seemed to be very different views of this. we are going to direct you, not suggest but mandate, that you perform an appropriate study, a comprehensive study, and make your best judgments about pros clauses,of arbitration and based on the results of that study consider what policy interventions may be appropriate. the bureau has been trying to appeal to that and quite frankly on the side of this process but ultimately i think this is the right thing to do here.
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we put out an interim progress report where we covered certain subjects, and we have more to come. i believe we have indicated that on thathat further work is ongoing, this is very active and i think it will be completed this year. and then we will be in position to make policy judgments based on that. i think that some people think that we should take forever on that, other people think we should have finished it yesterday. i have my own views but we are pushing along and trying to the work that congress set out, in that framework with 2 steps. >> but you do anticipate it will be this year? i am very glad to hear that. i have a second question. i am sure that you will tell me that you need to see the final study before deciding if the issue rules for forced arbitration clauses -- so let me ask the question this way. what kind of evidence would lead you to believe that the bureau should issue rules on forced
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arbitration? it feels very much to me like a case under advisement in court. i should clearly not prejudge the issue of policy intervention before we finish the study. we are well along but not yet complete. in the end it is going to depend in part on things like, how does arbitration work? does it provide a meaningful avenue for resolution for consumers, does it not? why doesn't it? the it matter how arbitration is set up, there are a variety of things that we are considering, the other is how it compares alternatives in court. i think that we can all look at that and come to the same conclusion about what kind of
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evidence that we think matters, but i would really like to today, here if i can, stay away from trying to prejudge that. >> if the evidence supports that, the bureau is willing to review rules on forced arbitration? >> congress gave us a clear task, look at this closely and study this, give us your results youbased on those results can have policymaking that reflects the conclusions that you have reached. >> i realize arbitration has a very important role it can play in our legal system as long as parties choose arbitration freely after the dispute by forcing customers and the arbitration system that banks control -- this is just another way to tilt the playing field against consumers. fpb can limit this and i look forward to the final report.
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apo?enator craig >> before i go back to data issues i had one more question about operation chokepoint. several federal banking regulators are pressuring banks to and relationships with legally operating heyday lenders and gun stores. and retailers. this is known as operation chokepoint. are you familiar with this? >> i have certainly read numerous rest accounts of this, and therefore i would say i am familiar with this. be participating in operation chokepoint? >> i think that they have a job to do as a law enforcement agency, to police illegal lending, whether this is online or in person than much of what we are talking about here is online. there is the further issue that
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has been raised, what about the illegal lending that operates by piggybacking on the existing payment system? this is not something that the banks alike or risk they want to be exposed to. some of them get to the area of potential regulation, with the operation risk and -- risk i am not an expert on. >> does this mean you are participating with operation chokepoint? >> i do not know what you mean by participating. i think that the agencies involved are trying to discuss the appropriate approach to knowing your customer. this is more about the prudential regulator term, at our concern at the consumer bureau is that we are supposed to be policing the non-bank lenders as well as the banks and many of the non-bank lenders on the payment system if they are operating illegally. this is one of the enforcement actions i talked about in my opening remarks that needs to be addressed.
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the is about whether activity is legal or illegal to me. it should not be about whether this is favored or favored. >> what i understand again, we just got this in the news reports but what i understand is there is a conscious effort to force legally operating payday lenders and gun store retailers to stop their business. >> that is in the report and i don't know if that is accurate or not. i don't know if that is what people intend or if that is what is happening. >> the focus of the bureau is on clearing out illegal activity and it is hard enough to do. >> what advice have you given, if any, to the department of justice? >> i have not given advice to the department of justice. >> let me switch back to the and mr. chairman, i have a lot of questions on this
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and others that i'm just going to have to submit for the record. i hope that we can do that. i want to talk quickly about this new project on the national mortgage database you are engaged with. when i lead to you that long list of personal identifiers, but the federal record said will be collected, you indicated that that would be the list -- i don't know what you call a sworn list -- >> this is a term of art that only bureaucrats can love. acronym --n know the but this is sort of a statement of operational risk, something like that. >> this is excepted but this is also a statement in the federal record or register, that says that this data will be collected. >> but here is the difference. i believe that in order to access data, we have to secure this from somewhere, procure
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this or whatever. it comes in whatever format it starts out in, it is already being bought and sold by the industry in that format. for us in order to create the database that i have pledged to you, will meet the kind of criteria i have laid out, identifying personal information. if it comes to somebody in a different form, it needs to be de-identified before becomes part of the database. >> you are actually collecting all of this information? >> i do not want to jump to that conclusion. they are collecting information and identifying what may be, depending on what the additional -- original dataset, out in the marketplace being passed around -- if, for our purposes it includes that kind of information it will have to be identified before it becomes part of the database. notice saysfhaa
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as it will include that information in this notice says that they will de-identify that for some purposes and the question comes back to, is this an unnecessary invasion of the privacy of citizens? when you look at the information that is contained -- this can be scary. but at a 2013 urban institute conference, prior to the issuance of this notice in the faderal registry, the fh said that the information in this would be easy to reverse engineer. that byve been told many other experts who we have talked to. is this not correct? >> i would like to address that. that is a truncated quote, it is cut off. to that and i believe the individual went on to say that the risk is important that we follow this
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properly. this quote was part of a longer passage and the full passage needs to be quoted in order to put that in context. taken out of context it sounds worse. that onually watched youtube -- they can do that if they want to. isn't it possible to reverse engineer? every expert i have talked to about this says that you can reverse engineer and obtain the the identified -- de-identified data. markethe real estate with data that has been on the books for decades, there is a lot of information available, in the real estate market and the mortgage market. i recall that when i taught at law school back in the 1990's, my students coming to me and saying, this is the kind of information, this is the kind of
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information -- they had my mortgage and purchase price, this is out there and it has nothing to do with whether or not this exists or doesn't exist. this is a robust market. >> my time is up and let me say i understand this. it is concerning to me that this information is still available in the public and private sector. i do have concerns about that but the concern i express today is concerned that the government is collecting this. i think that the rationale for the government to collect this information does not necessarily justify the level of potential invasion of privacy that is involved here. this is a much longer discussion. >> let me again state my attitude towards this. i know that you know this but i will say it again. this is an area that is a classic area, where congressional oversight is very
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important. you are very concerned about this and the public should be concerned about this and your work is making us be on our toes to make sure that we are doing things as right as we can. beenao inquiry has insignificant and exhaustive and it will result in a report. we are working with them and whatever concerns that they raise we will take to heart. i am happy to have our staff spend as much time with you and your staff as you would like on this because it is not just something you're interested in. i am interested in this, too. it is important for the agency to get this right if we can. but we have to have information to do our work, rather than just throwing darts against a wall. which is not something you or anyone else would like. the enrichment of the credit card market or the mortgage market, it is critical for you to engage in the policymaking and for us to engage in good policymaking. you can't even criticize this very well unless you have
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information into whether or not what we have done is good or bad. >> i am sure there will be much more discussions about this as we look forward to the gao report and we will continue to engage on this until we get it right. >> thank you. director -- i thank you for your testimony today, and your leadership at this important agency. this hearing is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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the speaker: the house will be
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in order. the prayer will be offered today by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. eternal god, we give you thanks for giving us another day. we thank you once again that we, your creatures, can come before you and ask guidance for the men and women of the people's house. send your spirit of wisdom as they face this day with difficult decisions to be made, determining among competing interests to appropriate funds for the programs required to serve the needs of our nation. might they work together with charity and join their efforts to accomplish what our nation needs, to live into a prosperous and secure future. please keep all the members of this congress and all who work in the people's house in good health, that they might faithfully fulfill the great responsibility given them by the people of this great
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nation. bless us this day and every day. may all that is done here be for your greater honor and glory. amen. the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance today will be led by the gentlelady from california, ms. chu. ms. chu please place your -- ms. chu: please place your hand on your heart. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker: the chair will entertain up to 15 requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker: without objection. >> mr. speaker, one of the most abusive government overreaches in our nation's history is
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happening right now under our watch. mr. williams: operation choke point began quietly last year for president obama and the justice department to strangle businesses they no longer support. by forcing banks to cut sporting gun stores, these business owners have no recourse. once again, program is circumventing the legal process that was set in place to set the free choice and individual freedom. when did it become ok that the federal government of the united states of america to tell business owners that their business is no longer wanted in america? that is socialism. owning the banks and the market is the goal of this administration. i encourage everyone who this congress and anyone that has er dreamed to -- operation choke point is -- in god we trust. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend
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my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> i rise today to recognize brad kerns, chief of inspectors with the alameda county district attorney's office who is retiring after 38 years of law enforcement experience. before serving as chief of inspectors, brad worked for 24 years at the oakland police department and also served as chief of police in the town. i had the opportunity to work with brad at the district attorney's office and appreciated his commitment to ensuring crime victims receive the justice they deserved and also his openness to embracing new technologies to better prosecute cases. mr. swalwell: it's fitting i am honoring brad in washington, d.c. as two years ago he and i were here with district attorney nancy o'malley to bring more federal grant money back to the alameda county district attorney's office. he will spend his retirement
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with his wife diane, and his children and grandchildren all of whom who live in the bay area. i want to thank brad for his years of hard work and dedication to keeping our community safe. i want to wish him well as he begins this new, exciting chapter in his life, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. hultgren: mr. speaker, i rise today in recognition of sergeant rachel kerry, a courageous veteran, mother and leader, originally from aurora, sergeant kerry proudly served in the u.s. army from 2003 til her passing on may 24, 2009. two tours in afghanistan and germany. rachel was 24 years old when she lost her battle to cancer and left behind a loving daughter, madison. i was privileged to honor rachel as her name was added to the keane county veterans memorial. those present who were touched
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by her life spoke of volumes about rachel's impeccable character and honorable service. this past week i had the privilege to visit normandy to remember the 70th anniversary of d-day during world war ii. 553 illinois soldiers were laid to rest at the normandy memorial cemetery. these service members exemplified bravery on their -- on those french beaches and we remain ever indebted to their sacrifice. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from maryland seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. today i rise in support of my constituent, warren weinstein, who has been held captive by al qaeda for over 1,000 days. mr. delaney: this past week the headlines have been dominated by sergeant bergdahl.
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warren is a loving husband, father, a grandfather. he's 72 years old. recent videos released by al qaeda show him in bad and deteriorating health. this is a man of peace and of love. he's dedicated his life to public service, starting with the peace corps, up until his service with usaid which is what he was doing in pakistan when he was captured four days before his scheduled return. i have written the administration and encourage them to use all means available to bring warren home. and this week we'll be introducing a resolution in the house encouraging them to do the same for warren and for every american held overseas. we must not forget these americans. we must bring them home. warren, today, you are not forgotten by this congress or this country. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from montana seek recognition?
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without, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. daines: in montana, transportation services like amtrak and essential air services are critical for the strength of our economy. montanans rely on rural air service every day and thousands of tourists ride the amtrak every year to visit glacier national park, an important economic driver in northwestern montana. but proposed changes to the transportation-housing and urban development appropriations bill place these programs in danger. we need to get our fiscal house in order but we must do it responsibly, ensuring our rural communities aren't forsed to bear the brunt of cuts that will harm local economies. i'll remain a strong advocate for these programs and encourage my colleagues to support the critical services in which rural americans rely. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? ms. chu: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute.
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ms. chu: the san gabriel area ins are a defining for my region. they're deteriorating as forest rangers grabble with more than three million visitors annually. trails are marked by graffiti instead of signs. . ash litters the ground that's why i'm introducing legislation to designate this area as a national recreation area. it would allow the national parks service to work with the forest service and local partners on community-based, community-driven protection and restoration projects. could mean access and connectivity to trails and bike paths from within our urban cities, more signs, more bathrooms, picnic areas.
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more visitor services. our community deserves to see these mountains protected permanently. i urge my colleagues to support this effort. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from indiana seek recognition? mrs. brooks: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. mrs. brooks: mr. speaker, the 2014 atlantic hurricane season began on june 1, and as the chairman of the committee on homeland security subcommittee on emergency preparedness, response and communications, i urge citizens in hurricane-prone areas to prepare themselves and their families. preparation saves lives. heavy winds, storm surge, flooding are some of the hazards that must be considered when preparing for hurricanes, and i urge families and individuals to develop emergency plans. i also urge family and individuals to build an emergency kit that includes important supplies such as basic medicines. previous disasters have shown that survivors can be on their
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own for many days before assistance arrives. information on how to prepare for emergencies, including how to build these kits, can be found at the department of homeland security's website or at and i urge people to go to red cross chapters on facebook and twitters to receive updates before and during storms. please take these simple steps to prepare these steps because preparation saves lives and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> i ask permission to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. hahn: thank you, mr. speaker. this morning i watched as president obama signed the long overdue water resources reform development act into law. this new law is good news. particularly for the ports of los angeles and long beach who stand to gain tens of millions
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of dollars that they have collected in their harbor maintenance tax. it will help create good-paying jobs, keep our ports globally competitive. as the representative of the nation's busiest port complex, i believe it's about time our nation's ports finally get the critical investments that they need to remain strong. it's been a long haul but after months of meetings and hearings, the idea is to fully spend this harbor maintenance tax and to increase the flexibility of the funds for these ports were included in the final water bill that was signed by the president. president obama and congress recognized the critical importance of our ports to our nation's economic growth and sustainability. today's action is a victory not only for those ports in my community but for all of our nation's ports. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. smith: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the
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gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. smith: mr. speaker, americans know that liberal media bias is a major problem in our country. they realize that our democracy rests on a fair and balanced news coverage. instead of reporting the facts, though, the national liberal media pushes the agenda of the administration. a recent rasmussen poll found that americans now believe media bias is a bigger problem than large campaign contributions. it also found that a majority of americans believe the news media has too much power and influence over government decisions. this is largely because many americans believe that the media goes easy on this administration. americans will continue to view the media as a problem until it provides fair and balanced coverage. the media should give the american people the facts, not tell them what to think. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition?
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does the gentlelady ask for unanimous consent? without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. wilson: thank you, mr. speaker. boko haram kipped hundreds of girls in nigeria and i am outraged. these girls were determined to get an education, to build a better life for themselves, for their families and for their nation, and for this they were abducted. as a school principal, i know the benefits of an education. tragedies, such as these, are not limited to nigeria. the pursuit of education for our girls is under attack globally. young girls have had acid thrown in their faces in afghanistan and pakistan. been murdered in somalia. have been abducted in libya and nigeria, and these are just a few examples. we all know the story of the
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young brave girl from pakistan who spoke about her passion for education and in return the taliban gunman boreded her school bus and shot her in the head and now we have the nigerian girls. and i am concerned. are they hungry? are they sheltered? can they shower? can they take care of their womanly needs? have they been raped? have they been beaten? have they been sold? are they still even alive? mr. speaker, i firmly believe we must continue to do everything we can to bring back hese young girls. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mamar wasago, dr. ali
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gunned down from front of his 2-year-old son and wife in pakistan. he's a cardiologist volunteering his time to care for folks at the tahar heart institute in pakistan. he was also a muslim a peaceful reformist movement within islam which opposes jihad and radical islam. i offer my condolence to his family and loved ones. sadly he may have been targeted because he was part of this peaceful muslim sect. i'm calling on the government of pakistan to condemn this act and seek an investigation to bring his murderers to justice. i'm also calling on the state department to institute a formal investigation looking into the killing. mr. stivers: as well as looking into the increasing violence against this sect of muslims in pakistan. i urge my colleagues to sign a letter to the u.s. state
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these issues. it's time to ensure that pakistan protects its religious majorities -- minorities. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. billst august, we passed a to protect student loans from doubling. but there's still work to be done. the $1 ppt 2 trillion of student loan overhang still there for those who graduated in earlier year. president obe ma, with the stroke of a pen, capped at 10% of income the debt requirements for students whock took out stafford loans in the past. mr. courtney: but there's still work to be done. for many who have private student loan debts at 8%, 10%, 12% interest, they are still not getting relief. a few days ago we introduced in
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the house the bank on students emergency refinancing act which would allow students with those loans to finance down to 3.%, those high rates. something which middle class families do with home mortgages and credit cards. we need to provide that assistance particularly for young americans starting out in their professional employment careers. let's come together as we did last august. let's support the bank on students emergency re-- refinancing act. let's pass this measure which is a critical problem for middle class merps. the chair: the gentleman's -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek reck snigs? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> on january 1, 2008, john granville was murdered by islamic ex-troomists in khartoum. he was a kid from think south buffalo neighborhood and was committed to helping those in the developing world. he was a former -- former peace corps volunteer turned career
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diplomat. at the time of his death he was working in south sudan to assist in their efforts to hold free and fair elections after 20 years brutal civil war. mr. higgins: while his killers were captured and convicted they escaped from prison under suspicious circumstances exactly four year oolings two. remain at large. meanwhile the man who helped these prisoners escaped was pardoned by president al bashir. a reward has been issued for the capture of these killers, they have been classified as global terrorists. i implore my colleague, you share my outrage, to seek justice for john granville by co-sponsoring my resolution, h. resolution 171. the speaker pro tempore: the entleman's time has expired. mr. higgins: i yield back the
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plans of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> is there a crisis plaguing our country's next generation. today unemployment for 18 and 19-year-olds is 20%. mr. yoder: the skyrocketing costs for those wanting an education is making a crushing burden. student debt tops $1 trillion and tuition for all universities, public and private, increased at an a rate of 7.5% from 19 8 to 2011. on average when a student graduates college they owe nearly $30,000 and if they attend a private or out of state school that number is higher. as someone still paying off my student loan, i sympathize for our college graduate whors weighed down with debt in an economy that is difficult for young job seekers. develop an economy
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with job opportunities to support these young bright minds yearning to realize their dreams. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from hawaii seek recognition? >> i skmsnan -- unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. gabrd: if your son or daughter or brother or sister was sick and couldn't see a doctor for over a year, wouldn't you take immediate action? do whatever it took to make sure they were cared for? as we stand here today, over 100,000 veterans, our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters in hawaii and across the country, have been waiting months just to see a dr. -- to see a doctor. in honolulu, veterans wait an average of 145 days, sometimes longer, to see a primary care physician for the first time.
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this is infuriating to me and it's unconscionable that our veterans are treated this way when they come home. last week i heard from veterans across the state of hawaii from every generation about their struggles and frustrations in trying to receive care from the v.a. some coming with tears streaming down their face begging for help help. these are our brothers and sisters, they need our help. immediate action must be taken. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognize for one minute. >> thank you. last week on june 6, i had the honor of attending the 70th anniversary of the d-day invasion in france. what a humbling experience it was to be there. countless graves mark the landscape where over 6,000 u.s. soldiers fought and died at the site of one of the most
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significant military operations in modern history. mrs. davis: looking back, it is incredible, incredible that an operation as vast and as complex as the allied invasion of normandy could ever succeed, just about everything that could go wrong, did. we faced setbacks at every turn. yet against all odds, our brave young men persevered. speaking with d-day veterans from san diego, like jack port, joe reilly, victor cramer and mes federerhart, i was reminded that they were just kids. many of them teenagers. i wish i could have shared it with my dad who served in the war but he did not speak about his experience and it's not hard to imagine why. many of them never made it home, thousands of u.s. soldiers fought and died so that the
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world might live in freedom and inherit peace. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from nevada seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. titus: over the last 50 years, women have broken barriers in business, science, education, and government. yet in nevada, the arch woman still makes only 85 cents for every dollar a man earns so that leads to a pay gap of more than $6,300 per year this not only harms individual women, it hurt theirs families, our communities, and the national economy. in a country where we strive for equal opportunity for all this inequity is simply unacceptable. that's why i'm calling on my republican colleagues to bring the paycheck fairness act to the floor for a vote. how can they say to their wives, you deserve less pay than i do? how can they say to their daughters, you're worth less than my sons?
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how can they tell their staff the women aren't as valuable as the men? it's unconscionable. i say pass this bill now because when women succeed, nevada succeeds and america succeeds. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous -- i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. decrow, a onor karen constituent of mine who passed away last week at the age of 74. she fought for women's equality and justice for all. she was a civil rights lawyer, a columnist for the civil rights post founder and a founder of the national organization for women, n.o.w. she was the only woman in her graduating class at syracuse niversity school of law.
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karen led the fight against gender discrimination in workplaces, educational institutions and sports. i had the privilege of working with karen as she remained active in n.o.w., serving as president of the syracuse chapter until her passing. she lived by the phrase, it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness. for those of us who strive for women's equality, karen decrow lit a bonfire. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york seek reck snigs? does the gentlelady ask unanimous consent? the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. mrs. maloney: last month this body passed h.r. 63, a bill i authored along with my friend and colleague congresswoman marsha blackburn. this would create a national commission to develop a plan for a national women's history museum on or near the mall in washington, d.c.
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this would be the first national women's history museum in our country and i believe in the world. it passed this body with a huge bipartisan support and vote. my friends and colleagues in the other body, senator susan collins and barbaramy culls key, are working -- bar rah mikulski are working hard to pass this bill and i hope their colleagues will move quickly and allow an up or down vote. passing this bill won't cost taxpayers a single dime but it will be a valuable first step in honoring our nation's foremothers and inspiring future generations of women. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered or on which the vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20678 record votes on postponed questions will be taken later. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> i move suspend the rules and
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pass h.r. 4810, the veterans access to care act. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 4810, a bill to direct the secretary of veterans' affairs to enter into contracts for the provision of hospital care and medical services at nondepartment of veterans acares -- affairs facilities for department of veterans' affairs patients with ex-tened waiting times at department of veterans' affairs facilities and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. miller and the gentleman from -- e, shoo -- michaud mr. michaud, will each have 20 minutes. mr. miller: i ask unanimous consent to all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the swrelt is recognized. mr. miller: i rise in the midst of a growing crisis amongst the
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nation's veterans. just over two months ago as a hearing we disclosed hat committee investigation had in fact uncovered evidence suggesting that at least 40 veterans had died while waiting for care at the phoenix department of veterans' affairs health care system. we now know and v.a. has confirmed that almost 60 veterans have died while face degree lays in care at phoenix and other locations. and that the data manipulation efforts that the committee has uncovered are in fact systemic throughout the entire department. i cannot state it strongly enough, mr. speaker, this is a national disgrace. but for our veterans it's something more. it's a national emergency. an internal audit that was released just yesterday found that more than 57,000 veterans
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have been waiting for care for their first medical appointment, and an additional 64,000 who have enrolled in the health care system over the last 10 years never received the appointment that they requested. now, correcting the many failures of the v.a. health care system is going to take diligent and focused work for a long time to come. this committee, both republicans and democrats, are committed to seeing this through. however, our first priority st be making sure that those 121,000 veterans and the thousands more, i fear, that are out there that have yet to be identified receive the long overdue care that they need without any further delay. this is why we have introduced h.r. 4810, the veterans access to care act.
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this bill would require v.a. to provide non-v.a. care authorization to any enrolled veteran who resides more than 40 miles from a v.a. medical facility. and has waited longer than v.a.'s stated wait time goals for a medical appointment or has been notified by the department of veterans affairs that an appointment is not available within the stated wait time goals. now, to ensure continuity of care, the bill would require v.a. to utilize existing contracts to the greatest extent possible. but also ensure that the non-v.a. care authorization encompasses the entire episode of care needed by the veteran during a 60-day period. now, to ensure providers are willing to accept veteran patients, the bill requires the department to reimburse non-v.a. providers at the greater of the following rates. the rate of reimbursement under
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v.a., the rate of reimbursement under medicare or the rate of reimbursement under tricare. these authorities would remain in place for two years. to ensure that we are addressing both the short-term access challenges facing our veterans as well as the long-term need for a proactive solution, h.r. 4810 would further require the v.a. to enter into a contract with an independent he want entity or entities -- independent entity or entities to assess the health care findings and recommendations of the assessment as well as an action plan and a timeline for full implementation to the congress. now, importantly, the bill would also eliminate bonuses and performance awards for all v.a. employees for fiscal years 2014 through 2016 and require
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the office of management and budget to transmit to congress an estimate of the authority's budgetary effects, to include any transfer of authority to utilize savings and if necessary more budgetary resources. now, our latest assessment suggests temporary elimination of bonuses and incentives will free up roughly $400 million per year that can be immediately utilized for the expanded patient choice options under this bill. v.a. is a well established authority to send veterans outside the v.a. health care system to receive care under non-v.a. providers. the decision if and when a veteran is sent to non-v.a. care lies with the v.a. bureaucrat. h.r. 4810 would require that
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v.a. use the authority the department has been given to assure that veterans waiting for an appointment or residing far from v.a. medical facilities are left in the control of their own care and able to choose for themselves where, when and how they receive the care that the veteran themselves need. this authority would ensure that no veteran waiting for an appointment today would receive one -- what one veteran during recent committee hearing termed a death sentence. mr. berry coats is a gulf war veteran who waited almost a year in increasing pain to receive a coloroscopy from the dorn v.a. medical center in columbia, south carolina. that colonoscopy revealed that he had stage 4 colon cancer that had metastasized to his lungs and his liver. members, he's terminally ill
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today. mr. coats called his experience attempting to access care through the department long, painful, emotional and unnecessary. he testified that, i am here to speak for those to come so they might be spared the pain i have already endured and know i have yet to face. mr. speaker, the problems the department of veterans affairs is now facing represents failure on at least two fronts -- failure of accountability and failure of access. over the last several weeks, the house has addressed v.a.'s lack of accountability through the passage of two pieces of legislation -- h.r. 4031, the department of veterans affairs management accountability act and h.r. 2072, the demanding accountability for veterans act. today, with the passage of h.r. 4810, we will address the department's access failures.
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for barry coats, as he so eloquently said, for all those veterans still yet to come. mr. speaker, i urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine is recognized. mr. michaud: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. michaud: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of h.r. 4810, the veterans access to care of 2014. i want to thank the chairman for bringing this bill forward and also want to thank the chairman and the staff on both the majority and minority side for all the work they've been doing to get to the bottom of this crisis within the department. access to timely, quality health care for veterans is a top priority for the veterans' affairs committee. we often hear that the care that the veterans receive at the v.a. facilities is second
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to none. that is if you can get in. as we have recently learned, tens of thousands of veterans are not getting in, having to wait weeks and even months to access a v.a. medical center throughout the country. the gravity of the day in care the veterans from all eras are experiencing cannot be overstated and is totally unacceptable. this legislation would help to alleviate the backlog of veteran patients waiting both for specialty care and primary care appointments. specifically, it requires v.a. to provide access to non-v.a. care to any enrolled veteran who lives more than 40 miles from a v.a. medical facility, has waited longer than the wait time goals for a medical appointment or has been notified by v.a. that an appointment is not available within the wait time goals. more importantly, it gives the
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veterans the option to elect to receive care at a non-v.a. facility or if the veteran chooses to wait to be seen at the v.a. medical center. when our young men and women sign up to serve their country, we promise them quality, accessibility to health care. thanks to many caring front line clinicians, we have achieved the first high-quality medical care. now we must work on the second timely, that's access issues, and i encourage my colleagues to support this very important piece of legislation. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maine reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from florida, who has been at the forefront of -- from colorado, who has been at the forefront of this investigation, mr. lamborn. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lamborn: i rise in support f the chair's bill, h.r. 4810.
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the manipulation of scheduling data and unacceptable wait times first highlighted in phoenix are systematic throughout the v.a. system, and unfortunately we've seen some of this in colorado at colorado springs, in particular, and i'm really upset about that. these findings prompted me to author a letter last week that was signed by 35 of my colleagues urging acting secretary of the v.a. gibson to expand the use of fee-based care in order to clear the current backlog and address any capacity shortfalls. h.r. 4810 takes the next steps in addressing the shortfalls by demanding that they expand access to fee-based care and defines the parameters in which this care will be administered. fee-based means that the veteran can get private health care providers to step in and take care of his health care needs when the v.a. doesn't have the capacity at that time to take care of him -- him or her. in order to ensure this timely
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delivery of quality care, h.r. 4810 also requires the v.a. to have an independent assessment conducted on the veterans health administration to evaluate department's performance and to provide recommendations for improvement. also, i'd like to mention bonuses will not be available for v.a. bureaucrats until 2016 , under this bill, until this problem gets solved. i fully support h.r. 4810. i appreciate the chairman's leadership on this issue and i ask my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation as well. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from california, ms. brownley. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for two minutes. ms. brownley: i thank the ranking member for yielding, and i thank the chairman for introducing this bill. i chose to join the house veterans' affairs committee
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even knowing the many challenges that have plagued the v.a. for decades because i want to do all i can to make sure our veterans receive the care they have earned and deserve for the sacrifices they've made for our great nation. if the v.a. cannot see a veteran in a timely manner, then that veteran should be able to seek care outside of the v.a. that is why i've co-sponsored this bill, and i intend to vote for it today. this bill will not fix everything, but it will absolutely help and it is an important step forward. however, for those of us who represent urban areas, like southern california, we all know that 40 miles can take the better part of a day to traverse back and forth. that is why i believe we must take into account not only the distance traveled but also the amount of time that it takes for veterans to travel to the v.a. so that the intention of
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this bill reaches all of our veterans. as a consequence, i ask the chairman and the ranking member to work with me to improve this bill and include time traveled as a factor as the bill continues to move forward. i ask my colleagues to support this bill. i ask them to continue our work until we live up to the promise this country has made to our veterans and their families. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from maine reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: thank you, mr. speaker. i understand ms. brownley's concern and i have heard that from members on our side of the aisle as well. at this point i'd like to yield two minutes to the vice chairman of the house committee on veterans' affairs, a stall wart supporter of our veteran, mr. bilirakis for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized for two minutes. mr. bilirakis: thank you for your leadership on behalf of our true american heroes. thank you for authoring this bill. i want to thank the ranking member. he does an outstanding job as
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well on behalf of our heroes. as a proud original co-sponsor i rise in strong support for h.r. 4810, the veterans access to care act. in upholding our promise to our nation's heroes, this legislation will provide necessary relief for thousands of veterans who have waited far too long within the v.a. health system. many of these veterans are forced to wait months, even years. this is beyond unacceptable and represents a disservice for their sacrifice and service. h.r. 4810 empowers the veterans with choice. it will address an immediate problem, allowing veterans to access non-v.a. care or stay within the v.a. system if they desire. our colleagues in the senate have introduced similar legislation, which includes, again, a very similar provision. mr. speaker, i hope that this needed solution to care for our veterans will move quickly and
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be presented before the president without delay. long term, the v.a.'s systemic failures that had a culture of mediocrity and discouraged transparency and accountability must be addressed. however, our first priority is to ensure veterans are receiving timely, quality care, but we must also continue our oversight to root out this culture of corruption. and i want to thank, again, the chairman for filing this bill and i urge my colleagues to support. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from nevada, ms. titus. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. titus: thank you, and i thank the ranking member for yielding to me. i rise in support of h.r. 4810. this important legislation will allow our nation's heros to
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access health care outside the v.a. for the next two years. if even one veteran who has been waiting a long time for an appointment through the v.a. is able to receive care more quickly in the private sector, then we should give him or her that opportunity. but this alone won't solve the problem. more must be done. we have known for a while that the v.a. facilities across the united states do not have enough doctors and nurses on staff to meet the growing demand for care. this is not a problem that's just isolated to the v.a. as i discussed in our hearing last night, allowing veterans to -- veterans to access care in the private sector will help in some areas of the quites but in many cities and rural areas across the country there's also a shortage in care in the private sector. in nevada, for example, we have a long -- we have for a long time had a chronic shortage of doctors both in primary care and among specialists. when care comparing the number of health care workers relative to state populations, nevada
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ranks 46th in the nation for general and family practitioners, 50th for psychiatrists, 51st for general surns -- surgeons. as a result, veterans aren't the only ones waiting for health care, everyone is afingted. add manager patients to an already overburdened system won't be a panacea. that's why i'm working on legislation to shore up the veterans health care system to shore up the residency program at the v.a. by increasing train, we'll not only help our veterans in the short run but we'll take a step toward addressing the long-term nationwide physician shortage. i hope i'll tonight -- find support for that as we move forward, i thank the chairman for his support on this issue and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i yield two minutes
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to the gentleman from tennessee, a veteran himself, dr. row. the speaker pro tempore: the -- dr. roe. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. roe: i rise in support of h.r. 4810, the veterans access to care act. as a physician, veteran and member of the house veterans affairs committee, words cannot express my outrage over the v.a.'s blatant disregard for the lives of those who serve their country honorably and earned timely access to quality care. i've helped run a hospital and am fully aware of how wait times and performance goals work. when the v.a. set a 14-day goal for scheduling poims it should have become immediately apparent that this was unattainable and could only be realized by cooking the books. even in the private sector a 14-day wait time is quite ambitious this bipartisan legislation offers a simple solution to a deadly problem. the needs of the vast majority of v.a. patients across the
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country can and will continue to be met through the existing v.a. system. but it's outrageous that veterans could die awaiting care that's readily available in the private sector. so this is a commonsense solution and frankly, the least we should do to help our veterans. as i said last night in the committee hearing, there's something the v.a. could do today to change the culture of the v.a. if you ask someone who works on a v.a. campus where do they work, they say, i work for the v.a. the answer to that question should be, i work and serve veterans. i applaud the work of chairman miller, ranking member michaud and the committee staff who have undertaken to hold the v.a. accountable. i yield back the plans of my time mr. miller: reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. barro. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. barrow: mr. speaker, i'm proud to be an original co-sponsor of this bill because it offers a way out for so many veterans who are stuck in the v.a. bureaucracy. over a year ago, i joined chairman miller at the v. namplet atlanta. when this problem first arose. and just this year he was gracious enough to come to my district in georgia where we were encountering similar problems. the awe kit e-- audit released yesterday understood scores the serious nature of this in my district alone 130 veterans who have requested appointments have never been seen. sadly they're only a small portion of the 57,000 who have waited more than 90 day to see a physician. we can do better this bill addresses the immediate critical needs of our veterans. for too long, veterans have been denied access to the care we promised them too often because of the simple inefficiency and incompetence at the v.a. i urge my colleagues to support this bill and look forward to continuing to work together
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toward comprehensive reform of the v.a. services our veterans have herbed. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from maine reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: thank you, mr. speaker. many members have been involved in this issue, certainly the chair of the committee on health has been at the forefront, i reck these mr. benishek for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. benishek: i rise in support of h.r. 4810, the veterans access to care act this says to veterans, you will receive the care you earned in a timely manner, whether at a v.a. facility or at your local hospital. i'm proud to be an original co-sponsor. by passing this legislation, we give a helping hand to those veterans stuck in a broken bureaucracy. we won't allow them to sit and wait for an appointment they should have gotten immediately. they fought to defend our right to freedom. today we defend their right to the care they were promised.
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the two-year authorization for private care in this bill will give congress time to work with the v.a. to overhaul the system. the former v.a. doctor -- as a former v.a. doctor, i pledge to you that the v.a. that emermings from this process will be leaner, smarter and far more responsive to the needs of our veterans. we know 35 veterans have died while await caring in the phoenix area alone. we know the recent deaths of at least 23 veterans have been linked to delayed v. ample medical care. the time for excuses is over. the time for action is now. i support and i urge all my colleagues to support h.r. 4810. i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, dr. cuellar. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cuellar: i want to thank my good friend, the chairman, for the great work e and his staff have been doing and certainly
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the ranking member and the staff that have work so hard along with the members to get this piece of legislation. i've always said, as my fellow colleagues have said, that when one of our men and women go out and fight in a foreign battlefield they should not come back and fight the bureaucracy of the v.a. and this is why this legislation is very, very important, that we address some of the issues. i think providing an alternative in this emergency bill as one of the original co-sponsors h.r. 4810 is the top of -- is the type of emergency that will . ovide an alternative i represent san antonio, ta lot of rural area, then into the valley area and in that area, i think this legislation will be very, very useful. in a sense that -- in the sense that if somebody has to wait or lives more than 40 miles away from the v.a. facility, they should be able to go to a local provider in their home area to
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get that assistance and i think this will save the veterans a lot of travel time and provide them care in their home area. i believe the -- i believe also they're provided services at a nonv.a. facility where they can be reimbursed at the rate of the v.a. tricare, medicare, whatever is greater, that is again another good alternative. the only thing i'd caution my friends, i've been pushing the alternative to work with the local providers and there's a problem with the v.a., they don't provide the reimbursement oto the provide on a timely basis. we need to make sure we provide the oversight that if a provider comes in, a private provider, that they promptly reimburse or we'll lose those proriders. i thank the chairman for the great work he's been doing, the ranking member and staff and other members, they've been doing, this is a great a good piece of legislation a good step forward. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 4810.
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i yield back the balance of my time. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from maine reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from kansas, mr. huelskamp. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. huelskamp: i rise in strong support of the veterans access to care act of 2014. i want to thank the chairman for his leadership not only on this bill but investigating the current situation at the v.a. s that long overdue, proactive, multiprong solution i've been advocating for since coming to congress. on the committee in the last three years, we have been investigating lavish conference spending at the v.a., millions of dollars of outrageous bonuses, billions of dollars of cost overruns and these are significant scandals in and of themselves but what we are discussing today is much bigger. it's about life and death. it's about dozens of veterans who lost their lives pause of what happened at the v.a.
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systemic, nationwide problem along with coverups, corruption and criminality. it's shameful. instead of fighting to preserve the status quo it's time to ensure that veterans receive quality health care closer to home. h.r. 4810 is a proactive solution, involves veterans choice and independent review of v.a. performance, eliminating outrageous bonuses an holding the administration, holding the v.a. accountable. whether it's the veteran i met in syracuse, kansas who was told he had to drive 10 hours round trip three times in 10 days for care he could have gotten down the street at his local hospital, he was told to drive to a facility that had a secret waiting list in wichita or veteran jack in kansas who waited two years for a doctor that was promised by the v.a. or larry in observer lynn who i just learned a few weeks ago was told to -- in oberlin who i just learned a few weeks ago was told to drive 10 hours to get a shingles vaccine that was
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available down the road. these are veteran who was been denied quality care. these veterans deserve care, quality care, close to home. the answer is pretty simple. mr. speaker. i do not believe there will be a rush to the exit of v.a. but it will meet the needs of larry, it will meet the needs of jack. it will meet the needs of joe and hopefully millions of other veterans that deserve quality access to care. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. does the gentleman from florida reserve? mr. miller: we have no further speakers, we are prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman maine. mr. michaud: we have a couple of speakers, but they're not here so i'll close. once again, mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 4810, the veterans access to care of 2014. i want to thank the chairman once again for bringing this bill before the chamber so we can vote on it, good quality health care is important for our veterans but it doesn't do any good unless they have access to
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that quality care and this legislation will definitely provide that access through nonv.a. care that our veterans need in certain areas. so i encourage my colleagues to support it once again. i want to thank you, mr. chairman, for working in a bipartisan manner to bring this bill before us today for a vote and with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maine yields back. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: mr. speaker, without a doubt, there are thousands of veterans across this country that are waiting for care that v.a. should be providing for them today. that is a national disgrace. and it's a national crisis when veterans die. as v.a. has already admitted, 23 preventable deaths due to delayed care and maybe more on the way. let me assure the members of this body, this will not end here. there are problems, systemic
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problems throughout the entire department of veterans' affairs. we will work day and night as we did last night going to 11:30 p.m., making sure that v.a. tell this is congress a co-equal branch of this federal government, the truth. with that, i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of h. reform 4810. i yield back the balance of my time. -- of h.r. 48 10. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 4810. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 degree in the affirmative -- the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.
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the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.res. 608, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house resolution 608, resolution condemning the senseless rampage and mass shooting that took place in isla vista, california, on friday, may 23, 2014. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from virginia, mr. issa, and the gentlelady from


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